Monday Motivation: Take a breather

Rest. It's part of the program!This is not your typical Monday Motivation post. I’m not going to tell you to push harderfind balance or jump. Instead, I’m going to tell you to rest. Take a breather. Chill out.

Rest days are vital to you on your fitness journey. Your body needs rest to rebuild and recuperate. They also help you avoid injury so you can stay at the top of your game. But, a rest day doesn’t mean indulging in everything under the sun. Stick to your healthy eating and remember to still drink lots of water.

In order to cash in on all the training, get the rest. If you can’t run as fast as you want to, you haven’t rested enough. – Ted Corbitt 

Rest days:

  1. Rebuild and repair muscle tissue.
  2. Build strength.
  3. Replenish fluids and energy stores.
  4. Minimize fatigue.
  5. Refresh our mental energy.
  6. Reduce the risk of injury.

So go ahead, give yourself the day off. And get right back into it tomorrow! 💜

Monday Motivation: Always be improving

compete with who you were yesterday_ironwomandiaries“To give anything less than your best, is to sacrifice the gift.” -Steve Prefontaine

Today, reflect on how far you’ve come and imagine how far you will go. Be determined. Be focused. Always be growing and improving. You may walk the same road twice, run the same miles, bike the same hills, but always you’ll be in a different place in your life. Every day is different. Every day is a new day to give everything you have, to be your best, to improve on yesterday. You will be stronger than you were yesterday. You will reach your goals. Dare to be your best, to always be improving, and to chase your dreams one mile at a time! 💜

Monday Motivation: Make mistakes

yoga next to mountain lakeI hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re doing something.
—Neil Gaiman

Make mistakes.
Push yourself.
Go outside your comfort zone.
Have failures.

The only sure way to grow is to be daring, make mistakes, and learn from them to move forward. We are so afraid of failure when really we should be afraid of not trying at all. Failures don’t define us. Mistakes don’t define us. It’s what we do to learn and grow from those failures and mistakes—how we get up, dust off, and try again—that does. 💜

A bit of this and a little of that

I haven’t blogged in forever 😳. So to make up for my lack of blogging I’m going to share with you a bit of what I’ve been up to, including a few of the things I crossed off my seasonal bucket list. 💜

In October we spent a lovely weekend up north at my parents’ house. We went for a walk in the woods around Long Lake to see the fall colors.Libby and Joe at Long Lake.

And the colors were GORGEOUS!Long LakeOf course we had to go to my absolute favorite coffee shop—The Black Cat—and get a chai latte and raspberry scone.Black Cat coffee houseIn November we celebrated Joe’s dad’s birthday (83!) and enjoyed Thanksgiving early with my mom. Why early you ask? Well, instead of a traditional Thanksgiving spent with family, Joe and I hopped a plane (or maybe 3) and escaped to the U.S. Virgin Island of St. Croix. We traded cranberry sauce and stuffing for a cheesy lobster spread with pita. And of course we had to have one colorful/fruity/tropical drink next to the ocean! Tropical drinks: St. Croix

I’ve ran or biked every day before work, and an occasional Saturday or two, since before Thanksgiving. I’ve also continued to do other training, like HIIT and resistance, so that 2-3 times a week I am getting two workouts in a day. Running or biking every morning sets my mood for the day and gives me added energy. If you don’t already, I highly suggest adding a morning workout into your routine at least a couple of times a week. Libby: post runHere at home we’ve had a ridiculously warm winter (no complaints here!). But with no snow on the ground it is a bit hard to believe that Christmas is next week. One of my favorite things about this holiday season has been watching a Christmas movie EVERY DAY this month. Of course a lot of the greats have been watched—Santa Claus (1-2), Elf, Christmas Vacation—with more still on the list—Rudolph, A Christmas Story, A Muppet Christmas Carol. But mostly Hallmark Channel specials have been watched. Not all with terrible acting, but the plot rarely changes. Nevertheless, they have worked at making it feel like Christmas is near.Christmas tree 2015One of my new favorite things is having lunch, almost weekly, with my good friend Annie and her newest family addition, Jameson. JamesonAnd, best of all, Joe and I celebrated three years of marriage on December 9! He is by far my biggest supporter and fan, and I don’t thank him enough for it. He puts a smile on my face every morning and makes me laugh every day. He is hands down the hardest working person I have ever known, which I hugely admire and appreciate. He inspires me to work harder and to chase my dreams. I’m so blessed to not only have him in my life, but to call him mine. Out of all life’s adventures, he is my favorite. 💜Joe and Libby: WeddingSo that’s a glimpse into all that has been happening! What have you been up to? And in case I don’t get the chance to say this next week—happy holidays! 🎄

7 Strategies you need to form a habit that sticks

Today's new behavior is the beginning of tomorrow's new habit. Did you know that, on average, it takes 66 days* to form a habit? Or, and perhaps even scarier, it only takes one week to break a habit? I find that slightly terrifying because many of us are okay with taking a break from our exercise routine. Of course, sometimes a break is both needed and necessary, but it’s easy to find one day turning into two days, three, four, until before you know it two weeks has slipped by. Eek! The more time away from your routine, the harder it is to get back into it. So what strategies can you use to form an exercise habit that sticks? I’m so glad you asked! 😉

7 Strategies you need to form a habit that sticks:

  1. Modify one behavior at a time. Probably the number one reason people fail at forming a new habit is because they try and change too many things at once. We see this most often with New Year’s Resolutions when people pledge to eat healthier, exercise more, eat out less, lose weight, lift weights, and on and on. In fact, trying to form even two habits concurrently drops your success rate to just 20%. Much of this also has to do with willpower. See more about willpower here.
  2. Have a measurable goal. The clearer and more defined you make your goal, the more likely you are to achieve it. “I want to exercise more,” is not a measurable goal. “I want to exercise for 30 minutes, five times a week” is a clearly defined and measurable goal. You can also use distance (miles, kilometers) as a way to define your goal. For example, “I want to ride 100 miles weekly, averaging 35 miles a ride” or, “I want to run 5 miles daily, three days a week.”
  3. Acknowledge and embrace that this is a process. I love this piece of advice. A habit isn’t something that you do for a certain amount of time and then stop. A habit is something you do continuously—that’s why it’s called a habit! The same study that found it takes on average 66 days to form a habit also found that habit formation is dependent on the behavior, the person, and the circumstance. Meaning that it can take as little as 18 days or as much as 254 days to actually form a new behavior.
  4. Keep track along the way. This is a must. To see how far you have come, you have to track your progress. Tracking your progress is also an excellent motivator (it also adds a bit of a guilt factor that will hold you accountable). I keep a fitness journal that I log all of my workouts in. It is a great way to see if I am meeting my daily/weekly goals and any holes or patterns that may occur that I need to address. I also write how I felt during that workout, draw—if I feel in the mood to be creative—or write motivational quotes.
  5. Go public! For some, like myself, this is probably the hardest step. I am actually a very private person and internalize most things. BUT, sharing your goals with others has been proven time and again that it will keep you accountable and on track to forming a habit! So, feel free to share your goals in the comments below. 😊
  6. Plan for challenges that may occur. Another key to successfully forming a habit is to have an action plan in place for when challenges arise. For instance, you may have a day when you have zero motivation to get your workout in. However, in order to form your new habit and reach your goal of exercising for 30 minutes, you need to workout. Maybe to get yourself motivated—your action plan that you created—you look at your journal of motivational quotes and images to get you in the mood. The more challenges you foresee occurring and the more action plans you create from the beginning, the more successful you will be.
  7. Allow yourself to be okay with a missed day or a set back. Don’t let one missed day steer you completely off course of creating a new habit. We all slip-up. The best thing you can do is let it go, refocus, and make tomorrow better. The more you get bogged down in self-blame, the further you will be from creating your habit and reaching your goals.

Don’t be daunted by the fact that forming a habit takes time. Instead, embrace the fact that it does! You will make mistakes and slip-up along the way, but that’s okay and perfectly normal. Make tweaks as you go and refocus as needed. Remember, the only way to form a habit isn’t to think about how long it will take you, but just to start, right now, day one. As James Clear said so perfectly, “The only way to get to Day 500 is to start with Day 1.” 💜

 

*In a study conducted by Phillippa Lally and her research team and published in the European Journal of Social Psychology, they found that on average it takes 66 days before a new behavior becomes automatic—aka a habit. Depending on the behavior, the person, and the circumstances, forming a new behavior could take as little as 18 days or as much as 254 days and anywhere in-between.